Turkey was always very important for NATO. Initially Turkey bordered the Soviet Union, when Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan were communist colonies.
After the fall of the Soviet Union there was the problem with Iran’s nuclear program, and Iran’s terrorist attacks against the West. Turkey again bordered Iran, and could be used for an attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Recently there was the issue with the ex-people of Saddam Hussein i.e the Islamic State, who were overturned by the US in 2003, and they launched many terrorist attacks against the West. NATO again needs Turkey to combat the people of Saddam Hussein.
Map The Importance of Turkey
In the previous years the Turks and the Russians developed a strategic partnership in the energy sector i.e. the Blue Stream and the Trans-Balkan Pipeline, and the Turks did not support NATO in Ukraine, but instead they started discussing with the Russians the possibility of the Turk Stream Pipeline, which would bypass Ukraine to the South. The Russians, with the help of the Germans, bypassed Ukraine to the North (Nord Stream).
The Americans had to approach Iran, in order to counter the Turkish-Russian and the Saudi-Chinese rapprochements.
But then there was the issue of Syria, and Russia was not willing to allow Turkey and Qatar to go ahead with the Qatar-Turkey pipeline, and Turkey and Russia went to a war in Syria, and Turkey downed the Russian aircraft and Turkey wholeheartedly returned to NATO.
But then Russia started supporting the Syrian Kurds, and the PKK in the Turkish Kurdistan, and Turkey saw the threat of an independent Kurdistan in Syria, and why not in Turkey later on. The Americans were not willing to support Turkey against their allies the Syrian Kurds, who were helping them combat the people of Saddam Hussein i.e. the Islamic State.
According to the National Interest the prospect of Assad is for Turkey a lesser evil than the prospect of an independent Kurdistan, and who could argue with that. Moreover, according to the National Interest the Turkish-Russian rivalry affects the war of Armenia-Azerbaijan, which threatens the supplies of Turkey from Azerbaijan.
As a result it has been sometime since the Turks have been more relaxed towards Russia, trying to improve relatiosn. The article also mentions that Putin’s role in Turkey is enhanced because Erdogan knows that the Westerners do not like him.
The article wonders whether the coup in Turkey, which I believe was staged by Erdogan, will end up in Turkey and Russia sorting out their differences in Syria, thus reviving the Turk Stream pipeline. That means Turkey will abandon the Qatar-Turkey project.
That’s the one million dollar question, because the Russia-Turkey-Israel axis that was recently formed has some problems. It goes against the Turkish-Qatari alliance, it goes against the Russo-Iranian alliance, and it goes against the American-Israeli alliance. Moreover it creates problems to the strategic partnership between Turkey and Iran. So what will happen? Iran and Qatar will form an alliance with the United States against Russia, Turkey and Israel? You can see that the Russia-Turkey-Israel axis contradicts the alliances of Russia, Turkey and Israel. It is not an easy case. Therefore there is no way to predict what will happen. You just have to wait and see.
And there is Hilary Clinton and the Democrats, who want to bring more army in Syria in order to put pressure on Russia, which would help Turkey, and there is Donald Trump, who wants to improve the American-Russian relations and ban the Muslim Brotherhood, which would help Russia. Therefore the future is unpredictable.
I think that Donald Trump is right. I do not see why the American democrats should support the Islamofascists against Russia, instead of becoming friends with Russia which is a Christian country. If you follow the Hilary Clinton view, you have to send troops to Syria to fight Russia, in order to support the Qatar-Turkey axis, and you have to fight a war in Turkey’s Kurdistan in order to promote the Iran-Turkey and the Iraqi Kurdistan-Turkey pipelines. That’s too much war.
And at the end of the day what happens if you win these wars? You will have greatly strengthen the Islamofascists against Russia. Why would you want to do that? Only European and American socialists would want that because they get too much petrodollars from Islamofascists. Instead of all these wars you can make Russia your friend and you let the Islamofascists that they are in serious problems if they keep attacking the West.
“Putin May Be Turkey’s New Buddy after the Failed Coup”, July 2016